What Does Sustainable Travel Post-Pandemic Look Like?
It is no lie that the pandemic affected the travel industry, among others, the most. Sustainable travel, for one, definitely saw the effects of the entire population having to go on lockdown and being unable to explore the world. This led to businesses closing, many within the tourism industry, and owners did not see the point in returning while the situation looked grim a few months into quarantine.
This is on the surface what we know and what we have gathered from all the news reports and statistics coming out from the past year, but looking back now and analyzing in retrospect, has it all gone in backward motion for the travel industry? Perhaps not! Or so Booking.com’s recent poll has shown.
Despite the evident losses faced during the pandemic, it seems like this also gave people the time to sit back and reflect on their own impact on planet Earth. While we were perched at home, social media reported how ‘nature was healing’ by showing rivers with crystalline water in urban areas which had been murky for years, and animals invading urban zones as humans were not there to threaten them. This gave us enough time to think: perhaps humans *are* the problem and the solution to heal the environment?
Booking.com asked and the people answered
Earlier this month, the giant online travel agency Booking.com posted the results of their recent US poll inquiring about traveling post-pandemic and people’s newfound tendencies to become more environmental. Happily, the outcome is encouraging!
Almost half of those who were polled felt that the pandemic both made them want to travel more sustainably in the future and be more sustainable in general on the daily. This comes as a surprise to many, as the shared idea seemed to be that post-pandemic people would want to travel in any form, regardless of how environmental the consequences were. We are certainly thrilled about these findings! Let’s explore a few more of their results.
What sustainable travel means in the new normal
When asked about what they would be willing to do to practice sustainability during their travels, four out of five people said they strived to reduce waste in any capacity. What this means is, as zero-waste practices are on the rise, the demand for hotels and tourist attractions to become more sustainable will be higher. This is, for all concerned, an even better choice to reactivate the tourism industry as we know becoming more sustainable lowers costs in the long-term for businesses.
On the other hand, almost the same 4 out of 5 people are willing to reduce their energy consumption while away, particularly turning off their hotel room’s air conditioning and lights when they are out and about. And while out and exploring, over two-thirds of travelers expressed they would choose more conscious transportation options such as walking, cycling, taking the bus, and metros instead of ubers and taxis. We truly love to see it.
Appreciating all things local
Something else that quite pleased environmentalists and sustainable pals alike was seeing that people are now considering the local culture as an important part of their trip. As much as 65% of people said they want to have meaningful experiences by immersing themselves in local traditions and 74% stated they would like to increase their cultural understanding and preserve the local heritage. With the expectations at hand, traveling will surely become, not only more sustainable but also more thrilling and exciting, as this is a face of it that many have not seen before!
The poll was plentiful, and many other questions were asked, however, one last discovery we would like to share is that almost half (48%) of travelers feel annoyed when the facility they are at does not allow them to be sustainable, ie. not having recycling stations or having to use single-use materials.
New sustainable travel horizons
Although there is big room for improvement still, in times where the world is still sore from loss and devastation we choose to look ahead and on the bright side. These poll results are encouraging to say the least, and we hope that by sharing them you are also motivated to continue your sustainable travel journey around the globe. It is quite rewarding to see a growing community of sustainable globetrotters that expands on the daily while having patience on its side, because it might be a slow rise, but a rise nonetheless!